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Tuesday 11 December 2018

Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam refuses to reappear in court

Abdeslam and another man are charged with attempted murder in a terrorist context and face up to 20 years in prison.

Salah Abdeslam is depicted in court in Brussels in a sketch (AP)
Salah Abdeslam is depicted in court in Brussels in a sketch (AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

The sole surviving suspect over the November 2015 terror attacks on Paris has refused to re-appear in court for a trial which victims had hoped would shed light on an Islamic State network which also struck in Brussels.

Salah Abdeslam appeared in court in Belgium on Monday, but refused to answer any questions about the March 2016 shootout with police in Brussels which led to his capture. It was his first public appearance since he was arrested.

The Brussels court said on Tuesday that Abdeslam had informed the tribunal he did not wish to appear at the next hearing, scheduled for Thursday.

Abdeslam, who is in solitary confinement in France where he faces allegations linked to the Paris attacks, is not required to attend the trial in Brussels. He has refused to answer a French investigating judge’s questions and responded similarly to questions in Belgium.

Abdeslam was Europe’s most-wanted fugitive at the time of the shootout on March 15 2016. He and an alleged accomplice, Sofiane Ayari, escaped from their hideout while a third jihadi opened fire on police. Three police officers were injured, while the third gunman was killed. The fugitive pair were captured three days later.

The two are charged with attempted murder in a terrorist context and face up to 20 years in prison.

Four days after their capture, the Islamic State network linked to the Paris attacks struck the Brussels airport and metro. In all, 162 people were killed in the two cities, in addition to nearly all of the attackers.

Press Association

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